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Wole Soyinka

Nobel Prize for Literature

Wole Soyinka: I began writing, scribbling notes, you know, in prison. But it wasn't actually published until after I'd come out. Writing became a therapy. First of all, it meant I was reconstructing my own existence. It was also an act of defiance. I wasn't supposed to write. I wasn't supposed to have paper, pen, anything, any reading material whatsoever. So this became an exercise in self-preservation, keeping up my spirits. It also, you had to occupy very long hours of the day, you know, not speaking to anyone. And I even -- it wasn't just writing. I evolved all kinds of mental exercises, even went back to those subjects which I said I hated in school, in particular mathematics. I started to try and recover my mathematical formulae by trial and error, and created problems for myself which I solved. You know, anything to keep the mind alive. As I said, it's an exercise in self-preservation. Writing was just part of it.
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Wole Soyinka

Nobel Prize for Literature

I began looking for my notes, the chapters I'd written in prison. Somehow they disappeared for some time. Because I had to smuggle the books out, between whose lines I'd written some things. So getting them back together took a while, and I could not find the documents. And then one day, everything came back, and I began writing Aké: the Years of Childhood. In other words, the project had always been there. I'd always wanted to capture that period. And so I wrote Aké, and the interesting thing was that I later recovered my notes, and almost word for word, the three chapters I'd written when I was in prison tallied with new chapters in Aké. An interesting footnote about the powers of memory. I mean, virtually line by line. Of course, some changes here and there. But it was amazing how the recollection came, total recall, for about three chapters, just like in the notes in Aké.
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Thomas Starzl

Father of Modern Transplantation

There were a small number of successes. The first one was at the Peter Ben Brigham Hospital in Boston. That was in 1959, using radiation as a way of preventing rejection. But that group was never able to duplicate that. And that particular case was a fraternal twin, not an identical twin. It was a fraternal twin, so there was some question about it. But then two groups in Paris coughed up four or five more cases, two each -- or two in one group and three in another -- again mostly failures. But by 1962 there had been in the world six cases of survival with kidney transplantation for at least one year. That is not the kind of record that you can have if you want to transplant a much more difficult organ, like the liver. So that was why what Bill and I said, "Nobody seems to be able to make the kidney work, we've got to dope that out, and once we succeed, we can do the liver." So back to the laboratory. We made some observations that was the key that unlocked the door for kidneys, and we went on a rampage of kidney transplantation, showed that not only could you make it work, you could make kidney transplantation an actual service, something that you could really offer a patient for the first time. So that was the first series in the world of successful kidney transplants.
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Thomas Starzl

Father of Modern Transplantation

Thomas Starzl: Every case of liver transplantation required some specific recipient qualities, because everybody out there in a conventional practice, the mere thought or mention of transplantation promptly pronounced it to be folly, a pie in the sky, and without merit. So to actually get even to the point of candidacy required a proactive approach by the patient or by the patient's family. So there was really an ultra filter between having the disease and actually getting to Denver. So that was a culling, highly efficient and real culling device, just getting there. Once they got there they'd already demonstrated a strong disposition to live. And that was very important, because what lay ahead was like running a gauntlet.
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Thomas Starzl

Father of Modern Transplantation

I never experienced any failures in life until I was fairly old, I mean until I was about 21 or 22, because everything had been so easy up to that point. I went through the Navy experience with no particular trauma, and going to school was easy, as I wrote in that book, because in order to get into the Navy with my parents' permission I had to skip a year of high school. No problem! Just go up and hire a few teachers and take the year in six weeks or so. So it was all easy, easy, easy. And then right around the age of 22, I woke up to the fact that I was going to have failures. I couldn't win all the time. It's kind of an experience that even the best professional athlete or boxer is going to have, discover somebody was smarter, stronger, out there somewhere, at least as it affected wherever specific enterprise was involved. So that's a bitter lesson. I learned that probably in my early twenties. Once you accept the fact that you can't always win, but you can always try, was an important turning point. I'm sure that because things still were pretty easy, and I advanced through life at a rapid rate, I always had that uneasy feeling that I didn't really deserve all this, that in some ways I was just a pretender with the shiny veneer, but without substance beneath. If you were to talk seriously to just about anyone who has done anything important you'll find that this concern, at some time, in many had a dominant force, and just trying to learn what your own true worth is. I think you keep pushing at that envelope maybe until you're 60, or maybe until you're 85. I don't know.
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Martha Stewart

Multi-Media Lifestyle Entrepreneur

The subject matter that I am really spending my time on has become an acceptable subject matter. Living, lifestyle, family, is now in the forefront of interest in America, and I've just stuck with it. I mean, I've been doing this for years, and I never got angry. I never said, you know, listen, I'm fighting for this subject. That wasn't my point. My point was to continue working in a subject matter, knowing full well that finally it would be recognized as a viable subject once again.
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